Dog Ear
This I vow! (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:00

I can’t believe this. After all the blogs about pushing yourself out there, of facing the adversity of the publishing field, I suddenly awoke to the fact (as a drunk wakes in a gutter and sees what he’s become) that I’ve been putting off submitting my agent packets.

First it was a train show. Then the new computer arrived. And I’ve been cross-loading my files and playing glass-smooth Spelunky. And also weeding the yard, running a  5K race, finishing a “Thrones” book, all sorts of things.

It turns out that the best thing you can do for yourself is to make a deal with your devil (as to what you need to get done) and then make that deal public. Mentally vowing to lose 10 lbs during a boozy New Year’s party won’t do it, but standing on a windswept parapet and shouting your intentions to the world will keep you honest.

Yes, I drive myself through shame-avoidance.

It works.

Years ago, I took a week-long improvement class called EST. One of the things was to make a commitment to do something and then do it. In fact, part of that commitment was to write a check to charity and give it to a friend, with instructions that if you didn’t do your thing by a specific date, that check would go into the mail. For me, the goal was a pilots’ license. The check? $500 to a charity (don’t remember which, but that was a LOT of money back in the ‘80s when I did this). I gave this to my good friend Joy, and once I earned that license, Joy and her family and I had a check-burning party.

So that’s what I’m doing. By the next DOG EAR, I’m going to have three submissions posted. If I don’t, I’ll give $1000 to the Sierra Club. This I vow.

>>>WITH $2 PROFIT PER SALE, I’M GOING TO NEED TO MOVE 500 “EARLY RETYREMENTS” BEFORE THEN. SAVE ME FROM MY BIG MOUTH! BUY A BOOK!<<<

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 20:31
 
Passion (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 18 April 2013 00:00

I was in a funk about writing. Just re-upped the site for five years and found myself wondering what the point of all this writing is. There was even a cartoon I saw HERE that said it all for me. Yes, it made me sad, but it's oh-so-true.

And then tonight, my wife and I went to Arby's.

JB was over at the table and I was standing at the counter. The counter-guy had gone off to dump our curly fries into the vat and I was just standing there, thinking my what's the point of writing thoughts. And that's when a behind-the-counter girl walked by, saw me, and just said "HI!" (yes, all caps).

She was so cheerful. I noted (smiling ruefully) that she wasn't missing much by working tonight, what with the rain sleeting down.

"Oh, I'd be practicing anyway."

Really? What?

"My cello."

She told me how she loves to play; been playing since she was ten. And how, if I wanted to learn any musical instrument, how she could set me up with a tutor, even a free one. And how she was trying to get into Rollins College just to formalize her skills, but that was incidental. What she wanted to do was play her cello.

It was what she did.

As I walked back to our table with the food, I thought about her quest for... cellation? Would she ever really get a chance to play in some symphony? Would she ever wear an evening dress and bow, bulky instrument in hand, while rave applause came down? No, probably not. She might never even get into Rollins. But when she wasn't behind that counter at Arby's she practiced, not worrying about fame and fortune and recognition and success.

She just defined herself by her art, and that was good enough.

Not often a fifty-four year old worldly writer can pick up a tip from a fast-food cook twenty-five years his junior.

But I think I did.

Writers write. That's what's important.

>>>AND EVEN THROUGH I WRITE FOR THE LOVE, A SALE OR TWO HELPS. HAVE A LOOK AT MY BOOKS AND PICK ONE UP IF YOU'D LIKE!<<<

Last Updated on Sunday, 14 April 2013 21:40
 
Perspective (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 11 April 2013 00:00

Authors love their jacket photos to show them sitting in a studious den with some books, a wonderful view out the window at their back, and wood paneling. And a globe. Like they are going to spin it and peer intently – “Hmmm. I shall send my hero to Madagascar…”

The image is that here is where they arrive at their great insights on human nature.

My insights on human nature come over the front of my bicycle handlebars when I ride to work.

Honestly, I see more of what it means to be human in my commutes by bicycle than one will find in a musty old den. In the brisk morning air, in the cool darkness, I’ll see true humans. I’ll see the oblivious middle-class drivers, grinding through their long commutes from the burbs, driving their pastel FUVs without headlights. I’ll sit at the light and watch an entire line of cars make their left turns without signals. And I’ll deal with Odyssey-wandering soccer-moms in the perpetual distraction they think of as their lives.

Nobody is out to cripple me. Nobody is out to kill me. But human nature being what it is, they don’t give a tinker’s damn if they do hit me. It’s an even chance they’ll run if they do (I speak from personal experience). And regardless of what their plates say about “life being precious”, regardless of their “coexist” bumper stickers, they don’t care. Not really.

When I apply this to history, I get a much more realistic view. Do I think that when Vikings sacked a village, they did it because their warrior prince was out to prove to his father that he could command a longboat, or that he’d cut a bloody swath because of the loss of his eye or the death of his maiden love? Do I think he was mo-ha-ha evil, that he’d chortle in baritone delight at the carnage he’d create? No. I think most Vikings were just out to rip a lot of people off and kill anyone who got in their way. And that’s probably more horrible when you give it a thought, that you might have home and loved ones torn from you, not in an act of dynamic melodrama, but just as an unthinking humanist act.

When you look at it, perhaps that’s why writers pen the villains they do. Certainly, dramatics factor in; it might make for a better story. But perhaps authors write meanings behind bad things because we need an explanation. Like religion, perhaps writing requires a reason for the terrible, inhuman acts we see about us. Because anything else, from seeing your village afire to that crushing impact of an FUV bumper against your thigh, requires a reason.

Anything else would be too terrible to imagine.

>>>”EARLY RETYREMENT” HAS GLOATING VILLAINS AND ENRAGED GENERALS, SO PERHAPS I DIDN’T FOLLOW MY OWN ADVICE. BUT IT’S SOMETHING TO CONSIDER (BOTH MY THOUGHTS ABOVE AND MY BOOKS IN THE LINK!)<<<

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 06:55
 
Courtesy (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 04 April 2013 00:00

I once had an agency dash ( in bold and angry words!!! ) across my introduction letter a message how they couldn't, wouldn't and won't represent an author who couldn't follow simple instructions. They rejected my offering without even looking.

And my crime? They asked for 20 pages and I sent them 22. Because that's where the chapter broke, and that's where the story had a nice twist.

Like, shit.

I understand the dynamics. Authors beg agents. Agents, who are often failed authors, now sit on the Throne of Power, permitting those who come before them to crawl into their presence and all that.

Okay.

But here's what I'm seeing now..Agents are asking for email submissions. That's fine - I think my offering looks better in paper form, but I'll go with what's required. There are the usual other things, no simultaneous submissions, a response in three to four weeks, all that. Very nice. I understand.

And usually I'll always get a response written on my cover letters for paper-drops. Sometimes it's useful. I often will tune my cover letter on the basis of feedback.

But email submissions? I think one time I've actually gotten the courtesy of a response. And yes, they all gotten it - I've got the automated response as verification. But somehow, these same picky agents, who demand so much and promise nothing, don't offer the dubious consideration of a rejection. So I'll post out three or four e-queries and months go by and suddenly I realize I'm stalled waiting for rejections that never come.

I know what's going on. A traditional agency had the physical papers to shuffle. They junior agents would take a stack home, they'd flip through their submissions during television commercial breaks and dash off their replies. But now, with everything in electronic form, they don't quite have that read-reply, read-reply system worked out yet. They click through them and forget about them. We just go into the deleted folder and that's it for them. And meanwhile we wonder what ever happened to our submissions.

This is really a bite-job. If you are going to provide us with extensive query GUIs (that often take  longer to assemble than our usual paper efforts) come up with a methodical rejection (after all, 99% of your submission are going to get it, right?). But don't leave us hanging.

Maybe I'm just bitter since I've had agencies try to milk me for editing charges, agency charges, copy charges, everything. I've had an agency walk away without telling me when my publisher folded and took my royalties and rights with them. So if you are going to be dishonorable businessmen, fine. Nothing I can do. But for Christ sakes, send me a rejection letter so I can move on to someone who might appreciate my stuff.

Common courtesy.

>>>HERE'S A BOOK THAT GOT REJECTED A NUMBER OF TIMES BEFORE IT WAS SELF PUBLISHED. READ IT AND SEE WHAT A MISTAKE THEY MADE IN PASSING ON THIS! "EARLY RETYREMENT" - GET IT HERE<<<

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 07:25
 
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